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Give Them Heaven

Give Them Heaven  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Remember your eyes are opened, and your "enemies" are blind.

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Keep the Goal in Mind

I.( Week 1) We have so far ran along the lives of Elijah and Elisha. How Elijah was passed the baton of faith. (Week 2)He ran against King Ahab and his deceitful wife Jezebel. In his last leg of the race, God brought down fire from heaven onto the drenched alter. Proving beyond the shadow of a doubt there is only One True God. (Week 3) As Elijah finished his race, he passed his baton off to Elisha. Bolting forward in the race of faith Elisha is not too busy for the widow to pass her request off to God. Teaching us how to run our race of faith. Causing us is to run vigorously to help others in need, and pass their prayers off to God. (Week 4) But we do not run our race of faith by mustering up intense will power, but by the transforming power of God. Drawing from the story of Naaman the Great General, with a Greater Need. That although it seemed he was successful and powerful, but he had skin disease which was slowly killing his body, and a pride that was killing soul. Is directed on to the race of faith by a unnamed girl to seek after God. At first Naaman is frustrated with Elisha’s command, but after humbling himself he is transformed through faithful obedience. Just how Jesus transforms our lives from the inside out with we faithful obey his word.
A. This week we will see how Elisha confidentially runs toward’s the goal. Never forgetting why he is running and who he is running for. In
B. How might we tie all these stories together? What does this passage teach me about God? What does this passage teach me about people? Now let us turn our attention to the passage. Read with me
8 The king of Aram was fighting with Israel, so he consulted with his officers, saying, “My camp is at such and such a place.”
9 Then the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, “Take care while crossing over to this place, because the Arameans are descending there.”
10 So the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God said to him and warned him, so he was on guard there continually.
11 Then the heart of the king of Aram was stormy because of this matter, so he called his servants and said to them, “Can you not tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?”
12 Then one of his servants said, “No, my lord the king, but Elisha the prophet who is in Israel tells the king of Israel things that you speak in your own bedchamber.”
13 Then he said, “Go and see where he is so that I can send and capture him.” Then he was told to him, “Look, he is in Dothan.”
14 So he sent horses, chariots, and an oppressing army there. They arrived at night and surrounded the town.
15 The attendant of the man of God arose early and went out, and look, the army was surrounding the city with horses and chariots. His servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What shall we do?”
16 And he said, “Don’t be afraid, for more are with us than are with them.”
17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Yahweh, please open his eyes that he may see,” and Yahweh opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw, and look, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 They came down to him, and Elisha prayed to Yahweh and said, “Please strike this people with blindness,” so he struck them with blindness as Elisha had spoken.
19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way and this is not the city. Come after me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” Then he brought them to Samaria.
20 It happened at the moment they came to Samaria, Elisha said, “O Yahweh, open the eyes of these that they may see,” so Yahweh opened their eyes, and they saw, and look, the middle of Samaria!
21 Then the king of Israel said to Elisha when he saw them, “Shall I kill them? Shall I kill, my father?”
22 And he said, “You shall not kill. Would you kill those whom you took captive with the sword or with the bow? Put food and water before them that they may eat and drink and then go to their master.”
23 So he made a great feast for them, and they ate and drank; then he sent them, and they went to their master. And the bands of the Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.
W. Hall Harris III et al., eds., The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), .
II. Amazing, Elijah leans towards mercy, and forgiveness. He could have easily taken them out. Yet he sent them back unharmed. Is it not also incredible that although Elijah and his servant were surrounded, Elijah was unmoved or unafraid. But the servant was terrified until he could fully see, they were not really surrounded. After having eyes opened, he saw a grand army of heavenly forces.
III. Although I am drawn to talk about the grand heavenly army that surrounded Elijah, giving him an unshakeable confidence, I want to redirect our attention to how Elisha used to spiritual sight, in light of the army’s blindness.
A. Elisha has a different perspective, he knows why he is running his race. Elisha is running his race of faith so that others may see. Not so his enemies will lose, but God be known to all people, not just his friends.
B. Elisha knows his opponent is not the army willing to capture them, for they are blind to God’s goodness, and kindness.
C. Just as it is not God’s judgment and condemnation that turns us to follow Jesus, but it is that God so loved the world, the unbelieving, rebelling world. That not only curses his name but also other people he created. For teaches us, it is the wealth of God’s kindness and forbearance and patience, that leads us to turn away from sinful living.
D. Because with out God’s kindness in opening our blind eyes were would not be changed. God’s wrath and law may show us that we have sinned and even stirs guilt in us. But it is certainly God’s display of kindness in Jesus that changes our heart.
IV. In spearing the army, Elisha display’s his confidence in God to protect him and his servant. Along with a desire to see others changed by God’s kindness.
A. It can become easy to think the all other people need to know is the right things about God and they will turn from their sin. We can share the good news about Jesus but he we do not follow up with mercy and compassion, do we really show we have changed hearts?
i. Athletes show they have changed from one season to another through preparation and training.
B. A follower of Jesus must both know God and display God.
i. T.A.P.E.R
ii. Think.Act.Pray.Engage.Remember
1. Elisha Thinks of who his God, and that he has an army of heavenly protecting him. We too need to think of what God has done, and how he is faithful to extend his mercy.
2. Elisha Acts, he does not sit by passively, but moves into action. Trusting God will defend his people, and make sure Elisha reaches the gaol.
3. Elisha Prayerfully prepare for his servant’s eyes to be opened.
4. Elisha Engages the issue and acts confidently in serving his enemies.
5. Remember that we have been changed, and rescued from the darkness of the world, allowing us to patiently delivering kindness even to those who do not deserve it.
C. If we do not keep our goal in focus we will not respond properly to trials and conflict, especially with “enemies”
How else will a ever drifting world, who is blind to God’s Goodness and Loving Kindness. If the people who claim to be changed by God’s Loving Kindness are not only defending the needy, extending justice to the helpful, but also extending mercy to your “enemies.”
And are not followers of Jesus more changed than an athlete preparing for a race. And is not the goal of a Christian greater than winning a race? So since we have been rescued from our sins and been brought into relationship with Jesus, may your young group of Jesus followers. Think of who your protecting God is, Act while trusting Jesus to give you the strength to display kindness others who are not kind, Pray for those who harm you are speak against you, Engage the problems and issues your find yourself in realizing God has brought you to that moment and wishes use you, Remember that you are in God’s hand and he will never forget you, Remember without faith that comes by believing in Jesus as the payer of your sin debt you too would be blind and unaware of God’s kindness that has brought you to love and worship him. Remember your goal of reflecting Jesus to the ever drifting world in need of God’s loving kindness.
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